The second-most important election in human history is a mere 445 days away, and the BBC is already focused on informing you how awful the President’s potential opponents are. They’re especially focused on telling you how awful the people are who will vote against Him.
The BBC Narrative picks up right where it left off after the mid-term elections last November: racialism and fear-mongering about Christian Evangelicals.
The first sentence of Jane O’Brien’s report on the poll features her calling the winner, Michelle Bachmann, “the latest darling of the Tea Party”. I’m still waiting for a defender of the indefensible to show me an example of any Beeboid referring to a Labour or Democrat figure as anyone’s “darling”. It’s a pejorative, plain and simple, yet seems to be firmly established in the BBC style guide and is used time and again in this fashion with apparently full approval by the BBC’s editorial policy. And this is what’s used to start a BBC report allegedly intending to impartially inform you about a story.
Bachmann, O’Brien informs us, “narrowly” won the poll. How narrow? We aren’t told. Who came in second? We aren’t told. The next potential opponent of the President O’Brien mentions wasn’t even in the poll: Rick Perry. The only other name mentioned is Mitt Romney, who also didn’t even take part in the Iowa poll. Already the actual agenda is revealed here. This isn’t a report about the Iowa poll at all, or what the results mean: it’s about casting a harsh light on threats to The Obamessiah.
The BBC actually did a whole separate report on Perry already, so what’s the point of bringing him into what’s supposed to be a report about the Iowa scene? Iowa wasn’t the point at all, of course. It’s just an excuse for a BBC editor to tell his correspondent to do a quick report on who might be the potential threat to the President. Which they’re already doing elsewhere, as we’ll see in a moment. In other words, this was a complete waste of time, unless one has a specific agenda.
In fact, Michelle Bachmann won by a mere 152 votes. Congressman Ron Paul came in a close second. Tim Pawlenty came in third, and then dropped out of the race altogether. He never had much of a chance anyway. The three candidates pictured in this HuffingtonPost article aren’t even mentioned by the BBC at all. The actual results, out of a possible 16,892 votes:
1. Rep. Michelle Bachmann: 4,823 (29%)
2. Rep. Ron Paul: 4,671 (28%)
3. Tim Pawlenty: 2,293 (14%)
4. Rick Santorum: 1,657 (1o%)
5. Herman Cain: 1,456 (9%)
6. Write-in votes for Rick Perry, who wasn’t even a candidate yet: 781
7. Write-in votes for Mitt Romney, who skipped Iowa entirely: 567
8. Newt Gingrich: 385
9. Write-in votes for John Hunstman, Jr. who also skipped Iowa: 69
10. Rep. Thaddeus McCotter: 35
Notice who came in 5th, and remember it for later.
So Rep. Paul came in a very close second, barely off the margin of error, and not a single word about him from the BBC. Why? Quite simply because they’ve already written him off. Remember, the Beeboids believe that their mission isn’t really to inform you but to interpret stories for you, so you know what to think about them. You don’t need to know what actually happened at all. Paul has a devoted following. His advocates are very dedicated, hardcore, and like all extremely motivated groups are able to put a good number of bodies on the ground for things like this. That doesn’t mean his result here will translate into equal results on a national scale, but it’s worth telling you that. Imagine if he does rather better for a while than the BBC expects. He’ll be up there as a top contender, and you’ll all be going: “Who the hell is that? I thought Rick Perry came in second in Iowa or something?” Just like, for so many at the BBC, the Tea Party movement “came out of nowhere” (© Emily Maitlis during mid-term election coverage for BBC News on Nov. 2, 2010).
This is the inherent danger of trying to create, as the departed Matt Frei put it, “a rapport” with an entire country, rather than just straight-up reporting. The BBC should have just done a simple news brief on the actual results, with a couple paragraphs about the whos and whys of the top three or five. Job done, public informed, context provided for the larger picture, then move on to the big fish.
As others have already pointed out on the latest Open Thread, the first thing on Jonny Dymond’s agenda (after scoring some drugs, that is) is to tell you that the Iowa Straw Poll attendees are mostly white. Apparently he’s the new North America correspondent to replace Kevin “Teabaggers” Connolly, who has taken his own bias to the Middle East.
The reason to point out their skin color, of course, is simple: to create the impression that, whatever these voters want, it’s not “representative”, as Dymond makes sure to point out, of the rest of the country. Also, ultimately there is a racist subtext here, as we must always remember that racism is of course a primary motivating factor in opponents of the President. But, you may well ask, why didn’t Dymond or any other Beeboid cry “racism” about Herman Cain’s fifth place showing? Well, they don’t like him because he stated in the last debate that he didn’t want Shariah Law to become part of US law, and previously said that he’d want to know if any potential Muslim cabinet member of his supported jihad. You see, the BBC is capable occasionally of seeing past skin color when it suits them. But, as we saw over and over again in the BBC’s reporting on the 2008 Presidential election (the most important election in human history, from the way they covered it), and in their early reporting on the Tea Party movement, when it comes to a black man who holds the approved thoughts, any opponents have racism as at least a partial motivation. Like when Dymond describes the crowd as “white” in the same sentence he says they “really, really want to get rid” of the President. There is no escaping what he’s done here. Racism is clearly a card for them to play at the appropriate time, and their opinion on the matter is based on emotion and not facts.
Although, sometimes the BBC approves of and understands people who vote for their own ethnic group.
As for the demonization of the candidates themselves, note how Dymond and his editor frame their statements. Do the Beeboids ever use the term “red meat” when reporting on Labour or Democrat events? Dymond gets in an early scary code word: “revivalist” as a sort of subliminal set-up for the Narrative. It’s interesting that twice we hear the word “freedom” from the unnamed speaker celebrating Bachmann’s victory, yet the Narrative you’re given from Dymond and the rest of the Beeboids covering this is that religion is the key.
The problem is that the three vox pops featured have nothing to do with race or religion, but talk instead about economic concerns. It’s very clever how the BBC plays this. They give you the vox pops, the actual opinions of the voters, so they can claim impartiality in that they’ve provided the balance of opposing views. But Dymond and his editor bookend these statements with his racialist qualifier and then afterward by saying that Bachmann is popular because she’s a “social conservative”. Did anyone hear that given as a reason in the vox pops? No. It’s almost as if the BBC is telling you not to listen to them. The Beeboids sure as hell don’t, so why should you, eh?
Naturally, the bit of Bachmann’s speech they let you hear is the religious stuff. This is the BBC Narrative in action, making you forget all about the actual statements of the voters. Then he skips the rest of Iowa to talk about the same thing O’Brien did: someone they see as the real potential threat to their beloved Obamessiah, Rick Perry. In case there’s any doubt about the agenda here, the title of Dymond’s piece is about how the Republicans “lash Obama”. Do you need to know what happened? What the voters really want? What the candidates are really about? No. All you need to know is that they’re white, Christian, and are attacking the President. All this silly economics stuff the country has been talking about is by the by. Social Conservatism is the real issue here for the BBC. I guess that means Justin Webb’s book about its “strange death” was a load of BS? Nah, it was that kind of brilliant insight which got him the Today seat.
In case there are any lingering doubts about the BBC’s agenda here, and what they want you to think is the real problem, just read the first words at the top of their piece on Rick Perry:
Perry led 30,000 worshipers at a prayer rally
Yes, of course the excuse here is that the video clip is of Perry at a prayer rally. What about his actual track record as Governor of Texas? Did he turn the state into an Evangelical theocracy or what?
To his supporters, he’s the man who fixed Texas and can answer the country’s economic prayers. Could Rick Perry, who has announced his intention to enter the presidential race, overcome his doubters and end up in the White House?
Oops, the focus is on the economy here. Must switch gears.
The Texas governor ticks many of the boxes on the party’s wishlist. He’s a socially conservative Christian with a record of cutting spending, who can boast that he restored to health the finances of the second largest state in the US, without raising taxes.
There, that’s better. But hey, what’s that about solving the state’s economic problems without raising taxes? The BBC never mentioned this during the whole debt ceiling agreement saga. Curious.
Mr Perry also shares one important quality with his other main Republican rival, Michele Bachmann, who topped a straw poll in the crucial state of Iowa at the weekend. They can both fire up an audience, as he demonstrated a week ago at a prayer rally in Houston which left some of the 30,000 worshippers in tears.
Prayer. And, horrifyingly, he left people in tears over whatever Christian stuff he was talking about. See, it was okay when The Obamessiah went to church. It was okay when He spoke with black church leaders. Did anyone ever see such an emphasis on His Christianity? No. In fact, it had to be played down a bit because of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright problem.
Here’s the thing. I’m not saying that the religion and social conservative thing is a non-issue in the US, or trying to make you think that it’s not at all important to non-Leftoid voters or anything of the sort. What I’m saying is that it’s not the most important issue at all, and that over and over again we hear from the public that the economy is the number one concern which dwarfs all other issues, while the BBC continues to frame things as being the other way round.
Getting back to the piece on Perry, though, it’s amusing to see the BBC suddenly remember that someone was fixing economic problems with the kind of small-government attitude the BBC was denigrating so recently. The problem for the BBC here, though, is that Perry might start looking too good to the reader, so they make sure to bring out the big guns: he’s only “Bush on steroids”. This is enough to strike fear into the heart of any Beeboid, and they expect in your hearts as well. Actually, Bush was barely a small-government kind of President. He let Congress ramp up all kinds of debt under his watch, and was too powerless to stop Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and Frank/Dodd to blow up the mortgage bubble which led to all our current woes. But that’s not what the BBC wants you to remember. Just remember how much you hated Bush for being a Christian and a social conservative.
When it comes to Michelle Bachmann, the Beeboids are confused about what to do with her. They’ve already admitted that they can’t play her as a buffoon like they do with Sarah Palin. But they’re clearly scared of her, and it makes their reporting look a little silly at times. Rajesh Mirchandani (how many Beeboids are covering the US scene these days?) opens his report by speaking of her “fiery rhetoric”. And what bit of this rhetoric does the BBC provide for you in the video?
“Barack Obama will be a one-term President!”
Oooh, scary. This is only “fiery rhetoric” if one is a die-hard supporter of the President whom she’s trying to unseat. Surely with all the footage available of her the BBC could have found something a little stronger. That would mean, though, that they think this isn’t strong enough. Clearly they do, and went with it, which is a bit silly.
But hey, at least he only called her a “favorite” of the Tea Party movement and not a “darling”. Then Mirchandani is off to talk about Perry again. Redundancy ‘R’ Us at the BBC. That’s now three Beeboids making the exact same report but with slightly different words. The only thing different is the aegis under which each report is made. The results, though, seem to be exactly the same.
No discussion of the BBC’s coverage of the US (read: coverage of anything which might affect the President) is complete without the BBC North America editor, Mark Mardell. Just back from his hols, Mardell gives us an idea of the impression he’s gotten of the public mood.
The Republican race has moved a little closer to the finishing line while I’ve been taking a few days’ break on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. Bad timing, but it reinforced some of my views about next year’s election. More on that in a moment.
Um, has anything not reinforced his views on the US? Ever? Mardell says this about Bachmann and Perry:
They are tailoring their message to the times.
Are they, now?
But for all the Tea Party movement’s insistence that it is about fiscal responsibility and economic conservatism, these two candidates are both evangelical Christians, with a strong line on social conservatism. Perry signed a law that makes a woman about to have an abortion look at an image of her foetus. The stand out question to Bachmann in last week’s debate was whether she still believed, for religious reasons, that a woman should be “submissive” to her husband, and how that would touch the authority of the commander in chief.
Bingo! That’s all three elements on my score card: Evangelical Christian, social conservatism, and abortion. Narrative? What Narrative? What about the economy? Jobs? Small government? Nope, not interested. Scare-mongering against Christians is what works best. Wake me up when a Beeboid takes a similar tone about a Muslim candidate in Britain. But see, Mardell knows all too well what he’s doing, and has a handy riposte:
The right has attacked the media for focusing on such questions. But it is the media’s job to look at weakness, and it may be that social conservatism is not the priority of most Americans right now.
Yes, it may be. But that’s not stopping him as he simply doesn’t care. His opinions have been reinforced, remember. Mardell gives a brief description – in class war terms, naturally – of the area in which he vacationed, and then says this:
We didn’t meet anyone who was following the Republican race. But we did meet plenty of bewilderment at DC politicians and the state of the economy.
Well, thank goodness he didn’t run into any nasty old Republicans to ruin his vacation. And notice how he cleverly makes the problem into a bi-partisan one, shifting blame as always away from the President.
There was a couple running a bar who still seemed slightly surprised they were having their best three business years ever, but worried about what would happen next. There was the woman in the state park depressed and ashamed about the state of America, its education system, and the difficultly of setting up a business.
Whose fault are these oppressive regulations and taxes on small businesses, Mark? It sure ain’t the Republicans, who have been calling for less and less of it. But he still tries to play it as just a generic Washington problem.
There were late night drinks on the balcony of a motel with a Democrat who still had faith in Obama, but shook his head over the state of the economy.
They do seek out their own kind, don’t they? I’m sure Mardell doesn’t even realize what this says about him.
There is huge uncertainty in this country. Wise candidates will focus on that, as well as the more concrete issue of jobs.
Then why the constant focus on Evangelical Christians and social conservatism? Oh, that’s right, since the BBC audience can’t vote in US elections, the real agenda is to demonize the lot of them, and the voters along with them, so you know whom to hate and why when we don’t vote for The Obamessiah.
The stage is now set for future BBC reporting on the 2012 election. All these reports, all these Beeboids working on your dime, one clear Narrative.